Tello After The T-Mobile & Sprint Merger

The carrier Tello has offered some of the best prices in the industry for a while now. Until recently, the major downside of Tello was that it ran over Sprint’s lackluster network.

Ever since the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint closed, I’ve been wondering what the future would look like for Tello. On Friday, Tello shared a blog post that shed some light:

  • Tello plans to start implementing service over T-Mobile’s network in late 2020.1
  • Tello does not plan to change its pricing structure at this time.2
  • Sprint-only service is expected to be available until at least mid-2021.3
  • Sprint-only phones may see a big decline in the performance of data service before mid-2021.4

Phone compatibility with T-Mobile

Fortunately, many Tello subscribers already have phones that are compatible with T-Mobile’s network. High-end phones purchased in the last few years are particularly likely to work with T-Mobile.

If you bought a phone in the past 2 years — such as a recent iPhone or Galaxy — it likely already has support for both networks. Same goes for iPhone XR, XS, or later that should be good for the full T-Mobile experience, but devices older than 2018 may not be able to tap into the full capabilities of the new network.

Tello recommends using phones that support LTE bands 2, 4, 12, 66, and 71 along with VoLTE. Customers without compatible phones will probably need to upgrade their devices if they want to remain with Tello after the legacy Sprint network shuts down.

The long term

Tello has said it won’t raise prices, but I don’t think that’s a long-term commitment. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a price hike by the end of 2021. Tello will be more appealing with the expanded coverage offered by T-Mobile’s network. Additionally, the market for low-cost service is likely to become less competitive as Sprint disappears and large companies buy out a number of MVNOs.

While we may see a price increase eventually, I’m tentatively excited for Tello’s future. T-Mobile’s network is likely to offer Tello subscribers a far better coverage experience than Sprint’s network ever could.


Visit Tello’s website


Footnotes

  1. “We are already working intensively to implement the GSM service by the end of 2020 but this will not mean an immediate cutoff for your CDMA (only) compatible phone.”
    From Tello’s blog post.
  2. “We’re not making any changes to your plan cost or value…Tello’s current plan pricing and options will remain unchanged through the transition process.”
    From Tello’s blog post.
  3. “We will provide at least 3 months of notice prior to a closure of the Sprint network and then (if you have not already switched over from CDMA phones) provide you information on how you can keep using the Tello service…Older Sprint phones will work up until at least mid-2021.”
    From Tello’s blog post.
  4. “Please be advised however that data performance on some older Sprint phones (pre-2018) may decline noticeably as T-Mobile turns Sprint’s Band 4G LTE network over to 5G.”
    From Tello’s blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *